Star Trek: Enterprise: Damage   Rewatch 
December 1, 2019 1:13 PM - Season 3, Episode 19 - Subscribe

It's a bad day in the Delphic Expanse as Archer, T'Pol, the Xindi Council, and some one-shot aliens attempt to cope with the aftermath of various disasters.

Background from Memory Alpha:

- As a result of the Xindi attacks, fourteen members of the crew are dead and three are unaccounted for, probably the ones flying into space in the previous episode.

- This episode contains the first mention of stardates in the series. The stardate is communicated to Enterprise by Degra.

- Casey Biggs (the Illyrian captain) is better known for playing the recurring character of Damar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Three of his co-stars in this episode are also former Deep Space Nine guest stars; Rick Worthy played Kornan in "Soldiers of the Empire", Scott MacDonald played Tosk in "Captive Pursuit" and Goran'Agar in "Hippocratic Oath", whereas Randy Oglesby played both Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel in "Vortex" and Silaran Prin in "The Darkness and the Light".

"How long?"
"A couple of weeks… if we had the parts. We don't. As it stands now, warp drive is out of the question."
- T'Pol and Tucker

"How long have you been a doctor?"
"Nearly forty years."
"And in all that time, did you ever do anything you thought was unethical?"
"Twice. Why?"
"I'm about to step over a line, a line I thought I would never cross. And given the nature of our mission, it probably won't be the last."
- Archer and Phlox

Poster’s Log:
Maybe I missed a line of dialogue, but it seemed strange that the episode opened with Enterprise inside a Xindi star system, but then midway through, they’ve moved far enough away without warp drive that they can bump into and interact with the Damar-ians with the Xindi taking no notice. (And imagine my surprise that MA didn’t already list a “Damarian” species having been mentioned in Trek; this is the closest I got.)

The Xindi Council stuff is finally starting to be kind of interesting, and I credit Degra actor Randy Oglesby with much of that.

I also liked that they made some consciously different choices with the music and lighting. But Casey Biggs was wasted.

List of Ethics Discussion Partners Archer Should Choose

1. T’Pol

83. Yeoman Redshirt McGee, Waste Extraction, Deck E
84. Chef
85. Porthos
86. Soval
87. Shran

147. Degra

523. Ruby

666. Mirror Universe Porthos

812. This random dude from Travis’s old ship

1001. Phlox
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Most of the links in your numbered list are coming back to this page, not sure what happened to the URLs there but I can figure out what you meant to point to with them.

So, yeah, the episode did have the advantage of advancing the plot, and also dealt with the issue of T'Pol's problem, which at least explains why her Vulcan abilities have been nerfed so severely this season, but also continue the trend of giving her the type and severity of problems (psychic rape, psychic AIDS, and now space heroin) that would make Miles O'Brien feel blessed by comparison. To make the inevitable DS9 comparison, it's as if Kira were given all of O'Brien's annual torture episodes as her main character arc.

And, speaking of DS9, their crossing this ethical line begs comparison to "In the Pale Moonlight" and its own ethical Rubicon; you could also make comparisons with VOY's "Equinox", especially since that episode also involves some really bad decisions made to speed a damaged ship up. The thing that gets me about the resorting to space piracy is that, even though it's justified as yet another version of the Trolley Problem, the mechanics of the piracy--the relative small size of the components, and the ease and speed with which they're extracted and installed--makes me wonder: why didn't the NX-01 already have some of these on board? I understand that they couldn't just pull together an entire fleet in the time that they had before the probable launch of the full-size weapon, but couldn't they have given the ship some spare space carburetors or whatever they were and had them ready to pop in as replacements? I mean, maybe Earth doesn't have that sort of compact tech yet, or something. It just comes off as "we're missing a screw, these people have a screw that we can use, if we take their screw then their entire engine will fall apart but, damnit, we really need that screw."

Agreed that it's a not-great use of Biggs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:17 PM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Mod note: fixed links
posted by taz (staff) at 3:14 AM on December 2, 2019

The Damar link is still broken.
posted by fleacircus at 4:19 AM on December 2, 2019

Mod note: Dam!
posted by taz (staff) at 4:25 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also WTF'd at how they were suddenly in deep space again and not being detained by Xindi.

Here's some things Archer could have said?
"I will return with the part soon. It won't be three years."
"I will leave some of my crew behind to help and be hostages."
"Here's coordinates to some friends nearby."
"My government will make this up to you here's some contact info."

Like I dunno, I get the moral dilemma they are shooting for, but Archer is not trying his best. Also of course he raises his voice angrily the first time the alien captain says no. Also he doesn't seem to realize T'Pol is now an emotions-addict or whatever the goddamn fuck.

My thought about Archer's captaining this episode is how a bad leader will steer into disaster, as bad decisions result in consequences that require newer, harder decisions.
posted by fleacircus at 5:05 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks taz! I choose to blame Google Docs. Looks like it's time to adjust my methodology.

I mean, maybe Earth doesn't have that sort of compact tech yet, or something. It just comes off as "we're missing a screw, these people have a screw that we can use, if we take their screw then their entire engine will fall apart but, damnit, we really need that screw."

Like I dunno, I get the moral dilemma they are shooting for, but Archer is not trying his best.

Or the writers weren't. Because yes, a line of dialogue here or there could have made the dilemma less flakey and more impactful.

Not that it lacks ALL impact, mind you. I do now recollect this episode stirring some genuine interest and vicarious discomfort the first time I saw it. It's the sort of upending-of-Starfleet-principles that I think people who always accused DS9 of that stuff were probably assuming DS9 was doing, which is not remotely accurate in general terms even if it is pretty comparable in "Pale Moonlight" terms.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:12 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh good, welcome to a Very Special episode of Enterprise. If I remember correctly, this would have been in the midst of the last Big Drug Panic, that time being meth more so than heroin, which is more in in line with T'Pol's story line. But yeah, that's a story we really didn't need and is completely uncharacteristic. My eyes are still hurting from the extended rolling.

The other story, good lord. It's a mirror universe story, right?
posted by General Malaise at 7:14 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

“Damage”... Based on the title I forgot what this episode was because of this Trek era’s practice of throwing a single word as a script title and calling it a day. They should’ve called it something better to denote it was the piracy episode. I’d never forget a Trek episode entitled “Arrr, Matey”.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:56 AM on December 2, 2019

Coincidentally this episode aired in April 2004, the same month CBS revealed the Abu Ghraib pictures. Revisiting the early aughts with this show sure is fun.
posted by fleacircus at 9:18 AM on December 2, 2019

OT: I just found out that D.C. Fontana died yesterday. She was arguably as important to the development of TOS, and the franchise as a whole, as people such as Gene L. Coon and even Roddenberry himself. (In the excellent DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars", Nana Visitor's character, Kay Eaton, published under the pseudonym K.C. Hunter not only as a tribute to female SF writers who did likewise (because sexism) such as C.L. Moore, but also Fontana.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:28 AM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just saw that news on my feed. She wrote "Farpoint"!

posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:34 PM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by General Malaise at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

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